Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Walker, Texas Woman

I need to get more exercise. One of my doctors basically said I was perfectly healthy but small and noodly and would greatly benefit from getting in better shape. I really thought I had been bopping along about the same, but when I had a chance to get on Wii Fit, it told me I had lost like 7 pounds since the last time I'd been on it, which was back in July. Considering that I had probably put on a few pounds from indulging while in Texas, I probably dropped more than 7 between the time we got back and January or February (whenever it was). Considering that I was sitting at my desk almost that whole time, I wouldn't be surprised if that was all muscle mass.

Alas, I do not really care for exercising, but though I like Wii Fit, I haven't been able to work it back into my schedule. So I have been randomly doing calisthenics and spastically dancing to try to add some muscle to my flabby self. Hannah probably wishes I would save the dancing for when she's not around, judging by her permanently cocked eyebrow. And I wish I had a solid gold toilet, but what are you going to do?

Once I got the last big job done, I wasn't having to rush home from working in town (only once a week, but still), so I could add in some walking in the course of running some overdue errands. Only, the first time I tried, my knee seized up, bad. It hurt so bad, I wanted to cry, but I had to drag myself to the bus stop to get home. It had given me some troubles when John and I had gone for a walk a couple of weeks ago, but we were walking down a steep hill when it happened, so I chalked it up to walking down a 45 degree angle (maybe not quite that steep, but close). It's happened before, but I thought it was my shoes that time. This most recent time, the muscles above and below my knee were also hurting, kind of a cramped, burning sensation. Total suck-o. But that made me realize that it wasn't my shoes, and maybe it was just some kind of muscle spasm from being out of shape/working for hours at my desk before heading out/dodging dumb-bunnies in the street. Yesterday and today I made the same trip on foot across downtown and was so relieved--no cramp. Even after I loaded myself down with library books and a hardware catalog. But I had had a little extra exercise in the meanwhile...

On Sunday, the weather was gorgeous, and John started feeling cooped up in the apartment (John stir-crazy on a Sunday afternoon? Never, I say!). He couldn't talk Hannah into coming with us (she's on Easter vacation and plans to squeeze out every minute of lazing about she can manage), but the two of us headed into the woods with a camera, binoculars, and an incomplete map. We hiked for *miles* (John's guess was 5). But at one point, after we had been underway for about 2 hours, we spotted some houses through the trees below us and wondered if we were already within viewing distance of the river. It turned out we were *right above our house*. We could see the houses that face ours across the street. I could have cried. It's so hilly, there is no direct way to get anywhere, so we had been circling higher up the hill *behind* the hill behind our house. Luckily, my legs were in pretty good shape except for some soreness in my right hip right up until the point we had to walk steeply downhill. My knees weren't too happy about that, but they didn't try to go on strike or anything, which would not have been fun in the middle of the woods.

Anyhoo, it was a bit cooler than I had been expecting, so I had to drop the pine cones I had been carrying to shy at John when he misbehaved so I could put my hands up my sleeves, but the cooler weather meant there weren't many other hikers out and about that day. We saw 3 deer running! It was so quiet, and they were down below the path we were on, and I only noticed them when John pointed them out, running through the still-leafless trees. It was such a serene scene. I didn't even try to take a photo; I just enjoyed it. But here are some photos of trees, to prove we were there.

in the woods behind our house

in the woods behind our house

in the woods behind our house

in the woods behind our house

in the woods behind our house

--Nee in Germany says there's a fungus among us and cracks herself up

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Keeping out of trouble

My most recent sewing project has been a baby blanket for a coworker. He and his wife are expecting a baby boy in a couple of weeks, so I made them this:

Crochet project

When I gave it to him at work today, I neglected to mention that I sat up watching murder mysteries/cop procedurals (or as we call it, "dead bodies is on") with Hannah while I worked on it. I won't be able to see a dead hooker on Law & Order without thinking about soft baby yarn, though.

I threw some seeds into the planters on the balcony, which have started to sprout. I think I've got a couple of kinds of lobelia and some 'summer fragrance' mix. There's supposed to be more winter weather on the way over Easter, but maybe not this far south. I'm not too worried about it, though. If they croak, I'll get more seeds at the grocery store, where I do almost all my seed shopping.

John's making some delicious pork and pesto dish, so I'll be following my nose down to the table.

-Nee in Germany got more yarn where that came from

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Bloobity blee

This is the requisite "I'm not dead" post after a 3-month absence. I keep thinking of things I'd like to write about, but then not doing it, so now it feels weird to be writing without a prompt, so to speak.

I finished all my teaching/grading commitments for the last semester, just in time for the next semester to start in 2 weeks. But that means I still have some time to plan out my courses more thoroughly than I did last semester. Having already been through them once, I have more of an idea of what needs extra attention, etc.

I also finished a big editing job and got it out the door. Now I am editing an additional long chapter for a book I had finished editing 2 years ago but that has still not gone into print. I am making steady progress on it and should have it finished sometime this week.

I've still got bits and pieces coming in as part of the huge translating job John and I did over the winter. Luckily, the bulk of it for the most recent batch is for translating in the other direction (from English to German), so a colleague is doing that for me.

I also got a heads up on a translating gig from a colleague at the hospital, but I was so busy at the time that I really couldn't take it on, even though it is on a topic I am interested in and thought I could do a very good job on. So I was pleasantly surprised when the person replied that she would get back in touch later. I think that, being relatively new to the freelance business, I am still trying to overcome the urge to hoard work, even if taking it all on would negatively impact my quality of life. I am also trying to be realistic with myself when it comes to assessing how much time a job will take. So it was a big step for me to tell her that I was busy until X date, knowing that I could be losing the work. Her response, though, was confirmation that I had made the right choice, one I will be less nervous about making again in the future.

When I am in the middle of a big job and am trying to spend my working hours on that and nothing else, I start to feel like I am fraying around the edges because I feel like I am losing sight of the big picture. When I finished that last big editing job, the first thing I did was straighten and clean my office. That improved my mood by leaps and bounds. (It also helps that I'm getting lots of direct sunlight in my office these days. Ahhh!) Now I am trying to schedule my work following the motto on my friend's fortune cookie: Always under-promise and over-deliver.(I had also read a less succinct version from an editing colleague, but this makes a nice sign in my office, along with "Don't be an asshole" and "Is this bullshit?" I like to practice tough love with myself.)

Non-work (I am sure there are finer distinctions I could make between my various activities, but this is simplest.)
John got me a Kindle for xmas, and my lovely MIL sent money, so I invested it in a Kindle subscription to a southern German newspaper. I LOVE newpapers and magazines, but there are just not enough hours in the day to get through all the articles. I have been staying up later than is my wont just to flip through all the article titles for the day and to read 10 or 15 of the more interesting ones. Thank the 7 dwarves it doesn't include the Sunday edition, or I wouldn't do anything but read the newspaper all weekend.

Instead, I am reading Debt, by David Graebers, also on my Kindle. I am also crocheting a baby blanket for a friend, and I am amazed how well the two work together. The blanket pattern is very simple, so I don't have to look down very often, and once I got the Kindle balanced where I could read it without twisting around, it stayed in place, unlike a book. Every minute or so I have to remove my hand from my crochet to "turn" the page, but that is just a matter of pushing a toggle switch on the side of the Kindle. It's working great!

Now that the ice is broken, I'm going to make an effort to post more often. I have some ideas of what I want to post, so once I get a little organized, I should be getting more content up.

Nee in Germany needs a sandwich